Apple Expected To Bring Face ID Retina Scan To Macs

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, unveiling new products during an Apple launch event at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
Stephanie Keith / Getty Images

Apple could be preparing to take its Mac lineup to the next level with the addition of Face ID technology, according to new patents filed by the company, which were spotted by Patently Apple.

Face ID offers users the option to unlock their devices with their faces. The built-in True Depth Camera system scans a user’s face with a beam of 30,000 infrared dots that are invisible to the human eye. This creates a depth map of the face, which is then converted to usable data and used to unlock the device. After deciding to remove the home button on its upcoming devices, the company needed a new way to authenticate its users. Apple initially introduced this face-unlocking technology on the iPhone X in 2017 to replace Touch ID, the company’s fingerprint-based authentication technology which is embedded in the home button of older devices.

In 2018, Apple announced the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR with faster processing speeds and significant improvements to its Face ID technology, according to a report from 9to5Mac. Later, the company added Face ID to its third-generation iPad Pro. With facial recognition on its phones and tablets, many theorize that it’s only a matter of time before the company adds the technology to its Mac devices. And these recent patents are providing additional information to support this theory.

According to the patent, Face ID will also become more advanced with the addition of retinal scanning.

“Apple notes in patent claim #86 that devices with the Touch Bar may also use a biometric sensor that is ‘a facial detection sensor.’ In patent claim #87 Apple notes ‘wherein the biometric sensor is a retina scanner,’ the patent read.

This means a Mac that is in sleep mode could potentially be woken up and unlocked through facial recognition if its camera locates a known face. The patent also suggests that Apple may bring the Touch Bars, which are currently featured on the MacBook Pro, to its stand-alone Magic Keyboards.

Neither the Face ID nor the Touch Bar Magic Keyboard has been confirmed by Apple. Furthermore, the company is known to patent may ideas that aren’t always implemented.

However, Apple is expected to announce new MacBook Pros later this year, according to a report from MacRumors. TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, a well-known source of Apple rumors, believes the company is working on an upgraded 16- to 16.5-inch MacBook Pro with an all-new design, including a larger screen which will be accomplished by reducing the current bezel size.